Health Protocols

The University of Louisville has responded to the pandemic by implementing multiple protocols and procedures to keep students, faculty and staff safe and healthy on campus.

Health and safety protocols

UofL has established the following health and safety protocols for all university members to follow while on any university campus. Additionally, all university members are expected to stay in compliance with state and federal safety guidelines.

  1. Practice physical distancing and stay 6 feet apart.
  2. Wear a mask or face covering in common areas and avoid touching your face.
  3. Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue then throw that tissue in the trash.
  4. Disinfect used surfaces and frequently touched objects.
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  6. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
  7. Stay home if you are feeling sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or you are concerned that you may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should:
    • Stay at home.
    • Notify Campus Health at 502-852-6446 or Campus Health will provide students, faculty and staff guidance on isolation and testing.
    • Contact your medical provider.
    • If you are an employee, notify your supervisor.

Even if you decide to seek care from your own medical provider, be sure to still inform Campus Health so the university can effectively track COVID-19 cases and ensure proper isolation procedures for our campus community. Those who can study or work from home will have that option during isolation with approval.

All university members must provide a note from their medical provider or Campus Health to their professor or supervisor before returning to campus for on-site classes or work. Proof of a negative test, however, is not required to return on campus and it should not be requested.

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Mask requirement

Masks or face coverings are required in all public, indoor areas on campus. The university will provide all students, faculty and staff with one cloth mask, but individuals will need to provide their own additional masks or face coverings. Please take time to get familiar with the university’s Mask and Face Covering Policy.

Additionally, review the Mask FAQs for helpful answers to questions such as, “Is any type of mask or face covering prohibited?" and more. 

If you are using a reusable, cloth mask or face covering, you should clean it after every wear. This reduces the risk of spreading the virus. Washable masks and face coverings can be washed in your regular laundry using hot water. Disposable masks cannot be laundered and should be thrown away after a wearing. 

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Campus procedures

Training videos, hosted on our Safe Colleges training module platform, will be emailed to all university members and are required to be completed before returning to campus. The training videos will cover university actions and individual responsibilities for a safe return to campus. 

A daily symptom check will be required of all university members before leaving their home/residential hall. Instructions will be emailed with a link to the website and guidance on how to utilize the features which will also provide easy access to testing information, who to call, etc. 

Signage that illustrates the seven health and safety protocols is being posted and distributed across campus. All main entry/exit doors of buildings, restrooms, elevators, service centers and high traffic areas will have some form of flyer, banner, floor marking or window decal posted to remind everyone of the requirement to maintain physical distance and wear a mask or face covering. 

Facility enhancements such as barriers/sneeze guards will be installed in various reception areas, food service areas and other high traffic environments with face-to-face interaction. Air flow and fresh outside air exchanges will be increased through buildings where possible. HEPA filters in buildings will be provided, where possible. Furniture is being rearranged where possible to achieve proper physical distancing. 

Physical Plant will conduct cleaning, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, in accordance with CDC guidelines, of frequently occupied spaces and frequently touched surfaces. Disinfection of frequently touched surfaces is done once daily, between 9pm and 6am, Sunday through Thursday, primarily using electrostatic sprayers.  

Electrostatic sprayers (foggers) are being used to safely, effectively, and quickly apply EPA-approved disinfectants to surfaces of all types in large and small areas including those in hard-to-reach places. Electrostatic sprayers use electromagnetic charges to make disinfection solutions adhere to and wrap around targeted surfaces. The electrostatic sprayer positively charges the disinfectant as it passes through the sprayer nozzle. This generates positively charged disinfectant droplets that seek out negatively charged surfaces. The positively charged disinfectant droplets stick to the surfaces in a uniform coating that fully covers the targeted surfaces. Sprayers will be used in high touch areas such as classrooms, conference rooms, break rooms, stairwells, elevators, corridors and multi-person offices (single offices are not included). It is safe around electronics but will not be sprayed directly onto electronics and other sensitive items. Targeted surfaces include manual light switches, doorknobs/push handles, chairs with arm handles, tables, elevator buttons, handrails, and more.  

Disinfection stations will be provided in all classrooms and disinfection products are available upon request by departments for office spaces. Physical Plant will provide hand sanitizer dispensers, as well as disinfection spray and paper towels for use at classrooms. Physical Plant will refill supplies and there will be an informational card left at all disinfection stations for how to contact them if supply runs low. Over 900 wall-mounted hand sanitizer units will be mounted in hallways and common areas throughout all three campuses and Physical Plant will also refill those.  

Events and meetings should be virtual when possible or when a space is not large enough to observe physical distancing of six feet in addition to wearing a mask or face covering indoors. Gatherings of any kind on campus must follow all health and safety protocols, and organizers are responsible for arranging spaces to keep attendees six feet apart and reminding attendees they must wear a mask or face covering. This is in accordance with the governor's order on mass gatherings, effective July 20. That order, which limited social gatherings for the public to only 10 people, does not restrict gatherings at universities and other entities that have been given permission to reopen as part of Kentucky's Healthy at Work guidelines. NOTE: If you are a UofL student, please view the COVID-19 Guidelines for Student Events and Meetings.  Students wishing to host an event should complete the Student Events and Meetings during COVID-19 Form.  

Travel this will be subject to similar policies and restrictions set during the spring. See the homepage's Travel Guidelines section for the university’s updated  Domestic Travel Policy and International Travel Policy.

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All students, faculty and staff who are on campus, or plan to be on campus periodically, are required to get tested. Per the recent university announcement, one mandatory test must be taken between the dates of Monday, Oct. 5 to Friday, Oct. 23. Those who have already tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of Oct. 23, however, should not be tested again.

UofL's contract vendor, Bluewater Diagnostic Laboratory (Bluewater Lab), provides testing on weekdays on the Belknap and HSC campuses for all students, faculty and staff who are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, donot get tested with Bluewater Lab. Instead, contact Campus Health (502-852-6446), which is providing antigen testing for university members displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

How to register for Bluewater Lab's testing

  • Go to
  • Follow the steps provided on the registration portal. You will receive immediate confirmation of your appointment time after registering.
  • Your results will be texted to the mobile number you provided during your online registration within 72 business hours. Be sure to register a dependable number and ensure your phone's settings allow you to receive messages from unknown numbers.  
  • Remember: do not register for testing with Bluewater Lab if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Instead, call Campus Health (502-852-6446) for guidance on getting a rapid test.

Dates, times and locations

At this time, only the Belknap and HSC campuses offer testing. Belknap campus testing sites is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. HSC campus' testing site is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12 to 4 p.m. For specific room locations and evening availability on these two campuses, click on the the registration link above.

What to bring
Your current university ID and your medical insurance card. If you do not have medical insurance, be prepared to provide your social security number to testing officials.

What to expect
Be sure to wear a mask upon arrival to the testing sites and practice physical distancing while waiting. Please exit the testing site immediately following your test. Your results will be emailed or texted to you within three days. If you test positive for COVID-19 you will receive a call from Campus Health. Testing is at no charge to students, faculty or staff.

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Testing types

There are three basic types of COVID-19 testing: molecular, antigen and antibody testing. These tests are not interchangeable.

  • Molecular (also known PCR, RT-PCR, genetic) testing is a diagnostic test that detects genetic material of the virus and can continue detecting it for weeks to months following an initial infection. UofL's testing vendor, Bluewater Lab, conducts molecular testing for all university members who are asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19).
  • Antigen testing is a diagnostic test that determines if viral coat proteins are present, which is associated with an active coronavirus infection. Antigen testing will only confirm you are positive for COVID-19 if you are currently shedding the virus.  Campus Health Services provides antigen testing to rapidly test symptomatic university members. After an initial infection, antigen testing will only remain positive for about a week.
  • Antibody testing shows if you’ve been infected in the past. Campus Health Services sends antibody testing to their reference lab on a case-by-case basis.

It is important to note you can test positive by one type of testing (such as molecular) and test negative by another type (such as antigen). Discrepancies between test results does not mean your test was performed incorrectly or another test is more accurate. If you have previously had COVID-19, you can continue shedding very low levels of coronavirus genetic material which can be detected through molecular testing for months following your initial infection's active period. This does not mean that you are infectious or capable of transmitting the virus. Per the CDC, these low levels of detectable genetic material have not been associated with the production of functional virus; therefore, those individuals are not considered infectious. An antigen test will only confirm you are positive for COVID-19 if you are currently shedding the virus. After contracting COVID-19, an antigen test will not remain positive for months the way a molecular test will.

Take a look at this FDA testing guide to learn more about the three different forms of basic COVID-19 testing.

For more details on UofL's testing program, read the Testing and Tracing FAQs.

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Contact tracing and isolation

Despite the university's best efforts to test widely for COVID-19 and institute policies and protocols for preventing the spread of the virus, we know that positive cases will inevitably arise on campus. When those cases happen, Campus Health and their team of contact tracers will intervene quickly. They will determine isolation procedures, alert those who may have been exposed, and Physical Plant will disinfect spaces and surfaces. Remember, by everyone wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and contacting Campus Health at the first signs and symptoms of COVID-19, our university can mitigate the spread of the virus. 

Contact Tracing

UofL's contact tracing team of dedicated university health professionals will continue to trace, notify, and properly advise any individuals who may have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 person. Take a look at Campus Health's Response Procedures for a step-by-step reference on how Campus Health investigates a positive COVID-19 case versus an individual with symptoms of COVID-19. The procedures show how cases are identified, isolated, tested, investigated and how close contacts are notified.

Exposure to COVID-19, as defined by the governor’s office, is considered being within 6 feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID without either person wearing a mask or face covering for a period of 10 minutes or longer. If a university member has been exposed, per CDC guidelines they must isolate for 14 days and be symptom-free at the end of that time before returning to campus. If they develop symptoms during this time, they should contact their medical provider or Campus Health for guidance.

 For more details, review the Testing and Tracing FAQs. 


Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate. See below for the different scenarios:

    • Individuals with COVID-19 who have symptoms and test positive may discontinue isolation after 10 days if they do not have a fever within the last 24 hours of isolation without the use of fever reducing medication and their symptoms have improved. Otherwise, they will remain in isolation beyond the required 10 days until they are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication or symptoms improve.
    • Individuals with asymptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 may discontinue isolation after 10 days if they do not have a fever within the last 24 hours of isolation without the use of fever reducing medications. Otherwise, they will remain in isolation beyond 10 days until they are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication. Generally, testing is not recommended to return to classes or work when using the time based return to duties approach
    • Please note: A negative test at any point in the isolation period doesn’t shorten the isolation time and university members are not required to show proof of a negative test in order to return to campus.

For more details, review the Symptoms and Sickness FAQs. Students who are residents at the university should review the Self-Isolation for Residents FAQs.

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Health recommendations

  • Flu shots are highly recommended for all students, faculty and staff to protect the community from flu and to avoid overwhelming the campus and community health care systems during flu season. Many common symptoms of the flu are also symptoms of COVID-19. Knowing these two viruses will likely coincide this fall and winter, it will allow our health care system to remain agile if more people are vaccinated for the flu and therefore less likely to present with symptoms.
  • Create a support and resiliency plan. Make plans for regular check-ins with your friends, family and your support networks. If you're an employee, touch base with your supervisor and co-workers. Be honest about how you are doing. Some university resources include:
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Other COVID-19 mitigation strategies

UofL tightly monitors coronavirus infection rates in the community and — if warranted due to increasing infection levels — the university will implement randomized, broad-based testing to identify, isolate and trace the virus. Additionally, wastewater from different parts of campus (e.g. residence halls) will be analyzed as an early detection system for coronavirus, followed by individual testing as indicated.

The Co-Immunity Project, a groundbreaking collaboration to track and curb COVID-19 in Kentucky, tests health care workers and the general public in Metro Louisville and is a national example for developing a COVID-19 early warning system.

UofL has numerous ongoing clinical trials and others just starting in our hospitals and clinics and around the country to block COVID-19 from infecting people, limit its replication if people are infected and help those most sickened by the disease.

Our public health experts have developed the models used to project outbreaks and make sure the university and Metro Louisville are proactive in our management of the virus.

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